You know it’s going to take a marketing push to meet your sales goals this year. But your budget is tight and you’ll need to use your imagination to make it. Where to start?

For many business owners, marketing doesn’t come naturally. They lurch from one tactic to another without a clear idea whether the efforts are going to pay off in higher sales.

If that Raiken Review description sounds familiar, here are some time-tested, low-cost techniques to improve your marketing and help you reach your goals.

1. Conduct a survey

It’s critical to create a marketing plan before moving on to tactics. And the first step in developing a marketing plan is to understand who your target customers are and what they want from your company.

A good way to gain a better understanding of your customers is to conduct a survey about your products or services. If you can’t afford to hire a research company, do it yourself by creating a short questionnaire and recruiting existing and prospective customers to participate.

2. Pamper your existing customers

It’s typically five times as expensive to make a sale to a new customer as it is to an existing one. So make sure you’re not neglecting the people who already know and trust you.

Consider, for example, taking your best customers out to dinner or golf and using the opportunity to ask them about how to improve your business. You could also personally write to your top 10 customers to thank them and tell them they’re part of your new loyalty program or invite them to sneak preview JV Madness Review

3. Commit to online marketing

The Internet provides you with an inexpensive 24-hour virtual storefront. You can build relationships with prospective customers by offering them high-quality content on your site such as blogs, how-to articles, videos and a newsletter.

You can also extend your reach by using social media. One word of caution however: If you’re not willing to devote six to eight hours a week of an employee’s time, you’re better off going with a simple, well-designed website.

4. Use all your real estate

Your building and surrounding land or sidewalk are great places to put up signs and banners. And don’t forget to use your vehicles as moving billboards. But remember: Your images and messages should focus on what you’re selling, not your company’s name.

5. Work at public relations

A media story about your company is generally much more valuable than an advertisement because of the credibility it confers on your business. But in this era of media cutbacks, it’s harder than ever to attract journalists’ attention. Keep in mind that they’re looking for a compelling story to tell. So help them by letting them know about your innovative product, unusual customer contact or high-stakes gamble that paid off. And keep at TigerPress Review—building relationships with the media will pay off.

6. Turn employees into ambassadors

Your employees are part of the community and have all sorts of contacts that could help you. How about inviting employees and their extended families to a fun event at your business? You may find you get new word-of-mouth business or hear about a potential new business partner. At the very least, your team will come back to work on Monday feeling energized.

7. Give back

By sponsoring a hockey team or participating in a charity drive with a cheque and a collection jar in your lunch room or by the cash register, you’re not only doing your part for the community, but also generating goodwill with customers and prospects.

In a world where attention is currency, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to attract the eyes and ears of your target market. Not only are you up against larger companies with nicely funded marketing departments, you're also competing with social media and a multitude of other distractions for the attention of your prospects.

But that doesn't mean your marketing efforts have to cost a ton of money or be overly dramatic in order to stand out from the crowd. Here are five creative and inexpensive ways to market your business in a digital world:

1. Get endorsed by a local celebrity.
Many business owners dream of having their product or service endorsed by a global celebrity. But instead of trying to get a superstar to support your business, try seeking out a local celebrity instead.

Who exactly are local celebrities? These are people your local paper is writing about -- perhaps an "unsung hero" such as a teacher or a resident who's doing something positive and newsworthy. Since they're in your neighborhood, these people should be relatively easy to locate and contact by phone or e-mail. Let them know you'd like to send them a gift, namely your product or service.

The only catch: you'd like to follow up with them in a few days to get their honest feedback. Their responses can make for useful blog or marketing content.

Related: 7 Tips For Building a 'Power Network' on LinkedIn

2. Create a LinkedIn group.
Not only is a LinkedIn group free to create, it can enable you to offer your professional network a vibrant, useful information resource all while driving traffic to your site and increasing sales. Just don't use the platform to hard sell anyone.

It can take time and effort to get one going, but the goal should be to help provide resources and start discussions on topics that can benefit your community. Groups should also be a place for your members to network with other professionals online.

3. Get published on niche blogs.
While it may be difficult to get on the front cover of a major magazine, you can create marketing strategies and opportunities by being featured in a popular niche blog. Identify three to five blogs that target your market then contact the creator and offer a few ideas of how you'd like to bring value to his or her readers. You can:

  • Demonstrate good will by offering the niche blog owner a small amount of your product or service for free, which they can give away to their audience as a gift. This is different than a product review, which only offers information. 
  • Send ideas for blog posts you'd like to write and explain why they would be helpful for their readers.
  • Ask if you can interview them for your site. This might entice the blog manager to promote your content since it highlights his or her business.

Related: 3 Tips for Maximizing YouTube's New Layout for Brand Channels

4. Create videos for YouTube.
With more than 800 million unique visitors a month, YouTube can be a powerful platform for marketing a business online. To do so, go beyond simply posting random videos of your product or sharing your thoughts.

The marketing videos you create should include the following elements:

  • A keyword-researched headline
  • A clear editorial message (don't try to accomplish too much in one video)
  • A call to action (tell the viewer to do something, such as subscribing to your channel)

While you can spend a small fortune on cameras, lighting equipment and editing software, the camera built into your smartphone should be able to capture suitable online video. As for editing, if you're on a Mac, for instance, you should already have iMovie in your applications. Even if you don't have a Mac you can find free software online or hire a professional editor on sites such as, possibly for as little as $5 depending on the scope of the work.

5. Write an e-book about the biggest issues in your industry.
No longer do you need a publishing company or thousands of dollars to get distribution for a book. Amazon, for instance, will let you upload a digital book for free, with a 33 percent take on every sale. The goal is not to make a profit from direct book sales but to use it as a lead generation tool, encouraging readers to opt into your website for further information.

Even time-strapped entrepreneurs who aren't great writers should consider this. You can search sites like E-lance or Odesk to hire an affordable ghostwriter who can help you convert your blog posts or audio recordings into book format.

When it comes to marketing your book, set the price between $1 and $5 -- which makes it affordable -- then use social media, video marketing and e-mail list marketing to promote it. To generate more leads, keep in mind that Amazon allows prospective buyers of your book to take a sneak peek of the first few pages. Be sure to embed links into these early pages so you can capture leads from people who were interested but didn't wind up buying your book.

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